Monday, 26 July 2010

2D barcode for mobile phones

I have just found another application on my Nokia N900. It is the bar code reader. After reading a few bar code numbers from several grocery items, I was wondering what actual uses this technology could . be used for. Apparently, it can be used to store information like links, text, or business cards. Here is the URL to this blog:

2D bar code for
Anyone can make their own 2D bar codes at the Nokia Website.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Blogging from the past

Back in April 2003, I tried to start my own blog. It was very basic, and had no technology in it at all like Blogger or Wordpress. It was not a Content Management System (CMS). It was just me, updating pages manually. Initially I was updating Yahoo pages, but then I transferred them over to my Optus Account.

I am now in the process of moving them over to this blog site. I've already transferred over the posts from the 2003 year, and all posts from the old blog site are tagged under the same label.

There is no main drive behind this, with the exception of being able to keep a copy of these posts that I made when I had an understanding back then on different topics. Over time, it is interesting to read what I wrote. Some things I got wrong. Some things I still believe in passionately today. And some things I no longer care for. I guess that is what life does to you. You gain experience, from both your successes and mistakes. If you continually make the same mistakes, then you have a problem. Otherwise, just keep on living and learning...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Another time at Inception

I'm off to see Inception again. The movie is fantastic, and interests me on many levels. It has elements of other films I truly enjoy - like The Matrix series, and eXistenZ. I will not link to the film directly on wikipedia, as the entire plot is available to be read, but I will give you the link to Google's search on it. You can decide whether you want to spoil the film if you have not seen it by reading the plot.

What appeals to me about the style of films that it questions reality. There are realities within realities. I appreciate how they make the transition from one to another. It makes me question my own. It also makes me think about how little my problems are sometimes. Things that happen to me may appear to be so insignificant to so many other people. The films make me appreciate my own reality. And if I do have problems, I understand they are not the end of the world or universe for me. I can find work arounds. I can find other ways to do things. Other people may have a better life than me, but I also know I have it a lot better than many other people.

People in this world seem to forget that. They seem to think they are the most important people in the world. They seem to think their problems are the worst ones out there. They appear to forget that there is always someone worse off then they are, but only think about that there is many people better off than they are. I know I have done it myself, but I am also fortunate in knowing I have people that appreciate my company, and add value to my life.

Getting back to the movie, it is entertaining, and thought provoking. If you liked the Matrix series, then I do recommend you to see Inception. If you watched the Matrix, and still could not understand or appreciate it, then stay away from seeing Inception. You always have choice...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Pre-loaded maps for the N900

The Nokia N900 comes with GPS and Ovi Maps. One thing that it does not come with is pre-loaded maps. What this means is that if you are out and about, and you need some navigation assistance, you have to connect to the internet and download the maps as required. While this will not be a problem with some people, it was with me. I disliked the fact that I needed to connect to the web for Ovi to find a satellite lock, and then to connect to the web to find my destination, then to connect to the web to download the maps of where I am, and where I want to be, and the places in the middle.

I found a page on the internet that discusses how to load Ovi Maps without needing to do it via Map Loader. This is particularly useful, as I don't use Windows or Mac OS X, and do not have the ability to install the PC Suite with Map Loader. If you are thinking of doing this yourself, do not concern yourself with the version numbers. The maps work with the current version of Ovi Maps installed on the N900.

Therefore, for a once off download (of around 90MB for all the maps of Australia), I am able to install maps, not on just my N900, but also on KittyKat's N900.

Lastly, I think the maps loaded on the N900 (after installing them from the website link) are a few years old. I was recently driving to Bacchas Marsh from Melbourne, and I noticed that I was driving on roads that did not exist in Ovi Maps. I wonder if I had downloaded the maps "on the fly" from the internet, if the maps would have reflected reality.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Conroy considers filter for 12 months

In somewhat of a surprise to some people, but a prediction by most people that know Information Technology (IT) issues, the good Senator Conroy has decided to hold off from implementing the firewall around Australia's Internet - instead hoping to research the technical aspects of the concept. The newly elected Prime Minister Gillard has already said she is supporting the idea behind the firewall. This has been interpreted as an appeasing of Christians and obtaining their votes. I would have thought that in this day and age, in the country of Australia, the fundamentals of a logical government would be to segregate religion from state. Do not make decisions based on religion.

I am a realist. I know that with election being a "popular vote", that this will never be the case. If I was a politician, I would promise anything I could to as large a demographic I could to ensure my job is safe for another 3 to 4 years.

This being the case, I hope that Australians let logic prevail. A closed system of censorship is not the answer to keeping the "nasties" out of Australia. I want the system to be transparent if it is implemented. I do not want a politician censoring a portion of the Internet that they do not want me to read - just because it criticizes what they do. I would not be happy if my blog got censored, just because I made a comment about the current PM and the IT minister. Publish the list of "nasties", as if the filter truly works, what will there be to fear.

More importantly, promote education and family. Get parents to help children understand the Internet, what they should be looking at, and what they should not be looking at. Unfortunately, the Internet "nasties" exist due to a need. Is some of it inappropriate, disgusting, degrading, or immoral? Yes - but I will make a choice what I will see, and what I will not see. I do not trust that a politician is the best judge for me, as they all have their own personal agenda and motives they want to coerce onto the citizens.

Do something against censorship! Australia - vote wisely!

Monday, 12 July 2010

World Cup ball is amazing

With the World Cup of 2010 in South Africa drawing to a close, and the final between Spain and the Netherlands about to start, I went out to the local park today with the KittyKat, to have a kick around with the World Cup ball from Adidas. It has been called Jabulani, and it has had much criticism, especially from the goalkeepers in the World Cup tournament. It is apparently the most spherical ball ever made for a World Cup. It dips and rises when it is kicked into the air, and Jabulani is considered to be supernatural.

Adidas Jabulani Ball
Upon commencement of using the ball, I found it to be just like every other football I have ever used. You kicked it, and it would move. You kicked it straight, and it went straight. Then I kicked it with the inside of my right foot, and put spin on the ball as it floated through the air. What surprised me was that it actually curved in the air. I have never been able to achieve that feat before with a regular football. I do not know what exactly has contributed to this. It could be the grooves on the ball, or the fact that it is very round. KittyKat was also able to make the ball dip and swerve while in the air - but I do not know if she did that on purpose. It is truly an incredible (if not supernatural) ball. I do not claim to be a professional footballer, and I am sure a footballer with some proper skills would be able to make the ball do far more unpredictable flights.

The Jabulani ball can still be obtained in stores. I believe at the Adidas store in Bourke Street sells it for around $200 (in Australian Dollars). Shopping around, you could probably pick it up for around $150. I got my ball off ebay for $55 (which eventually cost under $80 including delivery). The only advice I can offer is that if you want one, shop around!

Secondly, with the finals, I am truly looking forward to this one. Spain and Netherlands have never won a World Cup. This gives me hope, as I can picture Australia one day climbing the heights to the finals of the World Cup. It may not happen in Brazil 2014, but it may happen after. With power teams like Italy and France crashing out in this World Cup, but being the first and second team of Germany 2006, anything is possible.

Monday, 5 July 2010

On-line education from IBM

I've been asked by a few people what I do. It's not easy to describe. I look at things when they break, and try to fix them. I look at other things that are not broken, and figure out how to make sure they don't break. I deal with interesting technologies. Web servers that have applications installed on them, in their own container, that utilize reusable code to manage complex situations.

If you are interested to sit through some on-line lectures for the products I deal with, have a look at the IBM education site on WebSphere. You'll find links on the front page to the other following products:
  • Databases
  • Lotus
  • Rational
  • Tivoli
  • Servers
In no way is this post an endorsement of the products I use. It is just a way to introduce these products to people who may have some interest in working with them.